Healthy Whole Food Steps: Top Ten {Tuesday}

A few years ago…like 6, I read Eating Well For Optimum Health by Dr. Andrew Weil. It was like a Science textbook. I don’t even know what inspired me to pick it up or finish it for that matter. But I was mesmerized by it. I read every word and the first thing I did when it was done was go through my kitchen and pile up everything that Dr. Weil considered unhealthy. This was the first time I got interested in healthy eating.

A few years later when I still liked Oprah, I started getting into Dr. Oz and his whole health-food philosophy. I loved his simple list of 5 ingredients that should not be in food and other little healthy habits he encourages.

With a few blogs and other books thrown in, I’ve been on a slow journey to eating better food…whole food…real food…clean food…slow food. This will probably be my only educational food post ever, so pay attention. Here’s the 

Top Ten Steps I’ve Taken To Better Eating:

1. Whole Grains


For almost the last year I’ve been buying bread from a local bakery. Not just any old bakery, though. This bakery is called REAL BREAD. And why? Because they freshly mill their grain minutes or hours before they bake their bread. They teach that wheat loses it’s nutritional value within hours. So, freshly milled wheat is actually the ONLY “whole grain” that’s even good for you. The whole wheat flour you buy in the grocery store? Dead. As dead as that unrefrigerated grape juice on aisle 3.

Read more at Bread Beckers. It will rock your bread world.

2. Full Fat Dairy

210.365 - Got Milk?

Americans are crazy in love with low fat. I know, some of us spout that we still like the “good fats” in eggs and avocados. But we still limit them because we want to be skinny. But let’s think about milk for a minute–does it seem like a good idea to take a complete food like cow’s milk (it is a complete food–it’s designed to keep baby cows alive!) and strip it down? Oh, but they’re just taking out the fat, you say. Is that so? Maybe the fat is what makes milk do it’s job. Don’t fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins work in a beautiful symbiosis? Low fat dairy is a scam. Full fat milk is WHOLE milk–as in a whole, real food. Drink it and then rejoice when you watch your full fat cheese actually melt on your cheese toast!

Read more about Full Fat Dairy at Kitchen Stewardship.

4. Raw Milk

got milk

Speaking of milk, after you pick up your WHOLE milk, you might want to check out the rest of that label. Does it say pasteurized? Ultra-pasteurized? UHT? Do you know what any of that means? Basically, in order to ship milk to far away places, milk has to be heated. To kill anything that might spoil on the way over. Of course, this kills other stuff, too. LIKE EVERYTHING HEALTHY. Ultra-pasteurized (UHT) has been heated on such high temperatures that it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated. Case in point: Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk. It says it right there on the website & the front of the package. And if you read the labels of your big gallon jugs at the grocery store? They’re all Ultra-pasteurized, too.

I found only one organic, simply pasteurized milk at my local grocery store. So, I googled “raw milk” in my area. That means milk straight from a cow (*gasp*). I found a local farmer that delivers to my aforementioned bakery weekly. The only problem is he labels his milk “for pet consumption only” because selling milk straight from cows to people is illegal. Are you kidding me?!

Read Top Ten Reasons to Drink Raw Milk at Cheeseslave {how could I NOT link to that Top Ten post?!}

5. Pastured Eggs

cage free eggs

When Les and I got married we were still in college–at a little school in North Georgia. We lived in a trailer out in a field right next to a chicken farm. And about once or twice a week I’d have to drive behind a big chicken truck. I’d see thousands of chickens stuffed into cages probably a foot high. Feathers were flying, their heads were drooping and I could NOT look at them. I remember in the summer, I didn’t have air conditioning in the car and I’d choose to roll up the windows so I couldn’t hear the chickens or see their feathers flying by me. It was inhumane–inchickenane—whatever, it was gross.

And now that I know a little more about cage-free, pastured, free-range chickens, I realize what the problem was. Those caged chickens? NOT HEALTHY. So, how in the world are they going to give me healthy eggs? They aren’t!

I have found several places that sell local, pastured eggs (and lots of individuals who just have a couple of hens in their backyards). Those multi-colored eggs above? Straight from chickens in my county!

6. Pastured & Grass Fed Animals


This is the same as above. Healthy animals=healthy food. If cows are eating “cow feed” instead of actual food intended for cows (ie. grass) and pigs are eating “piggie chow” and chickens are eating “chicken chow” instead of actual pig and chicken food, then they are not going to be healthy. And it won’t be healthy for us to eat. It’s as simple as that.

Becky and I cow-pooled this year so we could stock our freezer with grass-fed meat from a pastured cow. I’ve found several local farms that let their pigs and chickens run wild to forage and eat naturally. These are the animals I’m buying now.

Read more at US Wellness Meats.

7. Local Fruits & Vegetables

vegetable garden, detail

According to Steven Hopp, if Americans ate just one locally grown meal a week it would cut down on 1.1 million barrels of oil each week! Yeah, oil. You know that stuff that everyone in the free world is always fighting over? Drill now? Drill here? Drill there? Who cares?! EAT LOCAL.

Not only does local food cut down on fuel usage, it also supports your neighbors! Buying food at a local’s farmer’s market is keeping your money in your community. Finding a local CSA to provide you with veggies is helping a neighborhood farm make it!

And it keeps your fruits and veggies healthy, too. Think about how fresh an apple from Bolivia is. Not so much. But what about an apple picked an hour up the road? Probably bursting with just a few more vitamins, dontcha’ think?

For more information on eating local read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Lifeby Barbara Kingsolver

8. Honey

sweet, sweet honey

God and bees make honey. Raw honey is a complete natural sweetener. It never goes bad. It has pollen from your area–which means it can actually help with your allergies by setting up immunities in your body.

My sister-in-law told me her grandmother always said the reason she lived so long is because she ate a tablespoon of honey everyday. Even if it’s not true, what a yummy way to go!

Read more about Cinnamon and Raw Honey and Dark Chocolate at Kitchen Stewardship.

9. Organic

"Organic-Sustainable Farmed Products" by Vicky Tesmer (Cool Globes)

This is one of those over-used terms that no longer means as much as it used to. Organic does not equal healthy. Organic means that it is raised without certain pesticides and is not genetically modified. Oh, there’s so much to say here. And so much I don’t understand yet. Genetically modified fruits and veggies is new to me. Genetic food engineers have found a way to take genes from ANIMALS and MINERALS and put them into plants so they can have thicker skin, respond better to certain pesticides and make them unable to reproduce. It might be great for shipment and money–but can it really be good for us?

Read more about Natural and Organic at Gknkowflgins and Learn the Lingo at Eat Local Philly.

10. Self-Control

1st Course: Mesquite-grilled foie gras

This is the one thing I haven’t figured out yet. I don’t usually buy anything junky to keep in the house. But if it’s in here (like when my husband goes to the grocery store late at night and comes back with Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream?) I simply can’t turn it down. And when I’m given the choice to stop at a restaurant or go home and cook a full meal? Well, I can hardly pass up a chance to have someone cook for me!

How do I get wrap my mind around all this food-knowledge when I have junk food at my fingertips?!

10. Knowledge

I’m big on getting information. If you were here in January you know I didn’t make New Years Resolutions. I just made choices to get more informed on certain subjects. And this is the result of that knowledge quest. Along with all the blogs, books and sites I linked to earlier, here are some other great resources for learning about real food:

Local Harvest {My fave! I have found so many great farmers here!}

Whole Food Resources from Musings of a Housewife {lots of links to blogs, books and more!}

Eat Wild {more lists of local farms!}

Slow Food {a grassroots movement to take the world back from fast food!}

And a really good resource that I want to do is Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food for Rookies! It’s a 12-week online class that starts September 13. It’s $10 a class and is full of basic, easy, rookie steps for you to take (and now understand!) to get your family’s food going in a healthy direction! {And if you scroll all the way to the bottom of Real Food for Rookies page, you’ll see a quote from moi!}

What’s your food manifesto?

Disclaimer: I hope you can tell from this post that I do not claim to be an expert. I purposely did not give many statistics or facts because I am not a researcher or a nutritionist. I am a concerned human. Do not take anything I wrote as the gospel truth. Read through the links (also, cannot vouch for their reliability) and make your own informed decision.

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If you’re going to play along this week all you have to do is WRITE a Top Ten list on your blog, LINK to me in it, PASTE your post’s url into the linky below and then VISIT or tweet or stumble or generally love the rest of the Top Ten {Tuesday} participants! (<—click there for ‘rules’ and a cute button!)


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